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How to Guess Meaning from Its Context

Hello everyone!

Hope this module finds you well. Semoga kamu tetap sehat dan semangat ya!

Pernahkah kamu merasa putus asa saat membaca teks dan mendapatkan begitu banyak kosakata yang sulit dan tidak kamu ketahui artinya? Wah, jangan putus asa ya! Pelajari terus modul kali ini, semoga dapat membantu kesulitan yang kamu alami.

Modul ini akan memberikan infomasi agar kamu dapat melatih kemampuan untuk menebak kosakata sulit dari konteks yang ada dalam kalimat.

In order to understand what you are reading from an English text, you need to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words (words you do not know) from the context. This will help you read faster and easier.

Nah, tentu kamu ingin tahu bagaimana menentukan jawaban kosakata sulit dari konteks yang tersedia. Mari kita diskusikan bersama!

Now you will learn how to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words or new words by looking around the words to find clues. These clues will help you to find their meanings; then you will better understand what you are reading. There are many ways to help you guess the meaning of unfamiliar words from the context. Read the explanation below and study the examples.

Mari kita pelajari bagaimana menebak kosakata sulit. Kamu bisa gunakan strategi berikut :

  1. Definition
  2. A definition gives the meaning of words. The writer may use words, phrases, or statements to define something. The writer will use key words, or signal words to identify a definition so you need to look for them. See examples of key words below.

    Definisi yang ada dalam teks dapat memberikan informasi terhadap arti kata. Daftar kata kunci yang terdapat dalam daftar berikut dapat kamu jadikan bantuan.

    Key words



    is/are called

    what this means is

    is/are known as

    consist of

    is/are defined as

    refer to

    is/are described as

    may be seen as


    1. Inflation is a rise in the general level of prices you pay for things you buy.

    2. an unfamiliar word = inflation
      signal word = is
      definition = a rise in the general level of prices you pay for everything you buy.

    3. Someone who explores and studies caves is known as
      a spelunker.

    4. an unfamiliar word = spelunker
      signal words = is known as
      definition = someone who explores and studies caves

    Exercise 2 Use signal words as your clues to find the meaning of the underlined words. Circle signal words and write their meaning in the space provided.

    1. The encyclopedia defines astrology as the ancient art or science of divining the fate and future of human beings from indications given by the positions of stars and other heavenly bodies.
    2. Astrology means_________________________________

    3. Sales literature means printed matters that contain information on the goods.
    4. Sales literature means____________________________

    5. The part at the back of the car used for holding luggage is called the car boot in United Kingdom, whereas Americans would refer to this as the cars trunk.
    6. Car boot means_________________________________

  3. Restatement
  4. The writer may use other words, phrases, or sentences to provide the meaning of difficult words. We call this restatement; the writer describes it again or in a different way. Signal words for restatement are in the “Key words box” below.

    Restatement berarti si penulis menggunakan kata atau frase atau kalimat yang berbeda untuk memberikan petunjuk terhadap kata-kata sulit. Kamu bisa perhatikan daftar kata kunci di bawah ini.

    Key words


    that is to say

    in other words

    i.e. or that is

    The surface of Africa consists mainly of plateaus, or large flat areas, although these occur at different levels.

    an unfamiliar word = plateaus
    signal word = or
    meaning = large flat areas

    Exercise 3 Use signal words as your clues to find the meaning of the underlined words. Circle signal words and write the meaning in the space provided.

    1. According to Indian custom, a great dowry of money and objects is given to the bridegroom, in other words, it is a dot.
    2. Dot = ______________________________________

    3. There are several types of aerosol cans. Simple ones contain a liquefied gas, called the propellant, in which material is dissolved, i.e., melt.
    4. Dissolved =__________________________________

    5. Our youth nowadays should not engage in intoxicating things such as alcohol, cigarettes, and tranquilizers, that is to say, they should not ingest them.
    6. Engage =___________________________________

  5. Punctuation marks
  6. Punctuation is used to describe the meaning of unfamiliar words. The writer will write unfamiliar words and then use punctuation, words, phrases, or sentences to explain the meaning of the new words. Such punctuation is in the “Key words box” below.

    Tanda baca digunakan juga untuk menjelaskan kata sulit. Perhatikan tanda baca yang terdapat dalam daftar kata kunci.

    Key words

    , commas

    , , appositive

    ( ) parentheses

    ? ? dashes

    ; semicolon

    : colon

    Full-color pictures are printed using only black and three colors: yellow, cyan (a light blue) and magenta (a light purple).

    an unfamiliar word = cyan and magenta
    signal punctuation = ( )
    meaning : cyan = a light blue and magenta = a light purple

    The use of computers to handle text, or word processing, was foreseen in the 1950s.

    an unfamiliar word = handle text
    signal punctuation = , ,
    meaning : handle text = word processing

    Exercise 4 Use signal words as your clues to find the meaning of the underlined words. Circle signal words and write the meaning in the space provided.

    1. Both facsimile (known as fax) and electronic mail (email) are ways of sending documents.
    2. Facsimile =_________________________________
      Electronic mail =_____________________________

    3. An FM radio DJ (disk jockey) broadcasts over the airwaves.
    4. DJ =______________________________________

    5. Infection ; becoming ill through contact with bacteria of the respiratory system such as the nose, the throat, and the chest is among the most common of all diseases.
    6. Infection =_________________________________

  7. Examples
  8. Examples help us to understand the meaning of new words. See key words or signal words used for showing examples in the Key words box.

    Pemberian contoh untuk menjelaskan kata sulit sangat membantu. Beberapa kata kunci yang dapat dijadikan informasi kunci dapat kamu lihat dari kotak yang tersedia.

    Key words

    such as


    for example

    for instance

    is / are

    Use navigation buttons, such as, the “Next” button, the “Previous” button, the “Menu” button, and the “Exit” button, to go back and forth or jump to other topics while you are using your English software.

    unfamiliar words = navigation buttons
    signal word = such as
    meaning = buttons on computer program that are used for turn on pages

    Exercise 5 Use signal words as your clues to find the meaning of the underlined words by choosing the best answer for each question. Circle signal words.

    Some people in the North of Thailand do wickerwork, for example, they make elephants, turtles, plates, beds, and chairs, from teak trees for earning money.


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